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Dream Team: Pixar and NASCAR

Cars 3, NASCAR

Posted by Simoa • February 23, 2017

How excited is everyone for Cars 3? My anticipation for the film has been mounting ever since the first teaser dropped and every new bit of footage and news is cause for more excitement. If you’re like me, you may be thrilled to learn about NASCAR’s involvement with the upcoming film.

Chase Elliot and Jeff Gordon, who voiced Jeff Gorvette in Cars 2.

A handful of drivers will be lending to their voices in the film, as reported on nascar.com! For the racing cars enthusiasts out there, this cast includes Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suárez, and Bubba Wallace. They’ll be joining Darrell Waltrip, Jeff Gordon and Richard Petty who have previously voiced characters in the Cars films.

But Pixar isn’t just retaining a roster of NASCAR drivers for the voice cast.

The initiative goes beyond merely lending voices to the sequel, but stretches to at-track appearances, merchandise and co-branded learning materials for elementary school students through the NASCAR Acceleration Nation youth program. But the movie’s story arc also draws parallels from NASCAR’s current trend, of a growing youth movement that’s making its mark in its regional and national series.

This new collaboration will have its official debut at the Daytona 500 on February 26th, with Lightning McQueen himself, Owen Wilson, appearing as grand marshal.

Cars 3 races into theaters on June 16th.

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Here’s Your First Look at Lou – The Short to Play in Front of Cars 3

Cars 3, Dave Mullins, Lou, Short Film

Posted by Nia • February 2, 2017

LOU_Pixar

Since last year we’ve known that Lou was a new short being developed by Pixar, but we didn’t know when it would be premiering or much about the story – aside from the fact it focused on a lost-and-found box and would be directed by Dave Mullins.

Yesterday the studio released more information regarding the short and that it will be playing in front of this year’s film, Cars 3.

The short, in the usual Pixar fashion, will be centered on Lou, a hidden creature in a lost-and-found box at a school. The creature, created from mismatched baseballs and a beaten red hoodie, watches the school children play and secretly protects them against the local bully, J.J.

From a USA Today interview, Mullins discussed that the inspiration for this short was his childhood and the fact he never spent much of his time in one place as a kid.

“You either feel invisible because you don’t know the other kids or you’re embarrassed and you want to be invisible. I thought it’d be really cool to have a character who could hide in plain sight.”

Since Lou’s main motivation is to protect the other children in the school and give back to those who need it the most, he felt J.J. being a bully would help push the story forward while making it relatable to everyone.

“They’re usually just acting out because they’re awkward or young and don’t have their moral compass set. In a weird way, the bullies sometimes feel invisible, too. If you can find out what their motivations are, maybe you can solve some things. That’s what I like about Lou: True happiness comes from giving, He gets J.J. to understand that and through that, what J.J. wants really is to be accepted by the other kids.”

You can catch Lou on the big screen this summer in front of Cars 3.

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It’s not over until Lightning strikes: extended Cars 3 teaser

Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • January 10, 2017

There’s plenty packed into the newest Cars 3 clip that debuted yesterday. At 1:30, the teaser does what all the best Pixar previews do: gives a lot of new details but only ones that cause speculation and excitement. Pixar’s teasers always lead to more questions and theories.

Lightning McQueen’s crash from the first clip is once again our introduction, followed by an ominous prediction. The voice of an unknown character declares that Lightning will never the car he once was. The topic of retirement is broached. His defiant response?

“I decide when I’m done.”

While Cars 2 was focused on Mater’s spy adventures, this third installment will allow audiences to witness Lightning’s character progression. He’s older now and has something to prove. He’ll never be the car he once was because he’s no longer a brazen hotshot. That role is filled by the newest rookie sensation, Jackson Storm.

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Jackson is described in the clip as one of the best high tech racers. That’s a nod to the new vs. old generation. Though Lightning is now in the latter group, he’s not counting himself out yet. This may be an older Lightning McQueen, but none of that fire and confidence has been extinguished,

We’re also treated to a brief glimpse of Cruz Ramirez, and hear her tell Lightning that he needs her. Previous reports have labeled her Lightning’s trainer, and it will be interesting to see their dynamic play out onscreen.

A rivalry between Lightning and Jackson is also established. “I’m coming for you Storm.” Don’t count Lightning McQueen out yet. He certainly isn’t.

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See Lightning strike on June 16.

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McQueen vs. Mortality

Bryan Fee, Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • January 5, 2017

In the first teaser for Cars 3, fans were treated to a brief, but no less exhilarating clip of Lightning McQueen crashing while the announcer blared: “McQueen is fading, fading fast!” Turns out the racing car really is fading, in a much more existential journey.

New details surrounding the film appeared at Entertainment Weekly today. Lightning McQueen has to face the challenges of aging while younger, sleeker cars dominate the racing scene. One of these newcomers is the cocky Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), described by director Brian Fee with a silver spoon in his mouth. Jackson embodies the youthful vigor that Lightning has lost. And that youthfulness is glorified above all else on the tracks.

“McQueen is not the young hotshot anymore, the kid he was back then in Cars 1. […] He’s looking in the mirror and realizing, ‘I’m 40 years old’, and dealing with the fact that the thing that you love more than anything else, you might not be able to do forever.”

-Brian Fee

Fee’s words seem to echo the same philosophy from Monsters University, which placed less of an emphasis on following your dreams. The Cars films aren’t typically lauded for their complexity, so this is quite a new shift. It’s also worth noting that Jackson Storm is similar to the Lightning of the first film. Lightning may now be taking over for Doc Hudson in this dynamic.

Jackson believes that the new, high tech training is the future of racing, while Lightning McQueen and the older cars belong in the past.

There is one car who believes steadfastly in Lightning, and that’s Cruz Ramirez. Described as “optimistic, sunny, fierce, and friendly”, she’s voiced by Cristela Alonzo. She may not be a human character, but we’re hoping that as with Coco, none of her characterization veers into stereotype or tired cliche.

Check out images of the three cars below!

Another striking development: there’s no Uber in the Cars universe!

Cars 3 drives into theaters on June 16th of this year.

 

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Ka-chow! Latest teaser for Cars 3 debuts.

Cars 3, Trailer

Posted by Simoa • November 21, 2016

If you’ve got a case of the Mondays, prepare for a dose of Cars 3 to jolt you wide awake! The newest teaser was released today and it packs thrills in less than 50 seconds.

Tonally, this teaser switches gears. It’s a much more somber preview of the Cars franchise. This clip might not quell the mostly unenthusiastic response to the third installment, but it’s an outstanding teaser and fans will definitely not be disappointed.

The teaser ends on a breathtaking shot of a slow motion crash that sends Lightning McQueen careening into the air. It’s a beautiful shot, one that deserves to be paused over and highlights the visual brilliance of Cars that is so often dismissed or unacknowledged. While some were shocked by Lightning’s fate, it does offer a clue about the film’s plot which was announced in May of this year. Director Brian Fee remarked that Lightning is now past his prime compared to the rookies who have now emerged onto the racing scene. Is this crash in the teaser further confirmation of Lightning McQueen’s “need to adapt”?

We’ll be looking forward to the answer and plenty more.

Cars 3 hits theaters on June 16, 2017.

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In depth: Finding Dory, sequels, and Pixar heroines

Cars 2, Cars 3, Finding Dory, in depth, Monsters University, Pixar, Pixar Heroines, sequels, The Incredibles 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • June 29, 2016

This post is the first in a new feature on Upcoming Pixar where we offer a closer look at Pixar films.

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Dory – everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang. She’s so beloved that she nearly swims away with Finding Nemo. Nearly, but not quite. One reason why that film is such an unparalleled Pixar entry is because Dory as the scene stealing, ebullient comic relief doesn’t ever overshadow Marlin. We still care about him even though he’s not immediately lovable. (Or arguably, lovable at all).

Now Dory has a movie of her very own. She’s not stealing any scenes because they all belong to her.

In retrospect, focusing the sequel on Dory makes a lot of sense. Andrew Stanton crafted an emotionally resonant story with talking fish that was based on his own observations of fatherhood. That story was finished for the most part. But a new one centered on the silly, eccentric, and carefree secondary character held an ocean of possibility.

Of course, Dory isn’t the first goofy Pixar sidekick to become a protagonist in her own film. Mater was the first in Cars 2. But Finding Dory, unlike Cars 2, was enthusiastically accepted by most. While I do enjoy the latter film, I can understand why others have never been thrilled about a Mater centric movie. Cars 2 was disappointing to many because there was nothing meaningful underneath the hoods. Pixar films can just be fun diversions, but that’s a post for another day. But to everyone’s collective relief, the emotional stakes are higher in Finding Dory. Dory’s presence in Finding Nemo makes that film all the more poignant because her silliness contains pathos. She’s not just the hilarious sidekick.

“Please don’t go away. Please? No one’s ever stuck with me for so long before.”

“And…and I look at you, and I’m home! Please…I don’t want that to go away. I don’t want to forget.”

Is it any wonder that Andrew Stanton felt “very worried about Dory and couldn’t stop thinking about how she needed closure”?

Stanton didn’t work on the sequel right away. It wasn’t until 2011, eight years after Finding Nemo, that he began to consider it. And it clearly took more time to tackle the story before it was officially announced and released into the ocean five years later. This is the usual way sequels are handled at Pixar, with the exception of Toy Story 2. That film had to be salvaged on a tight deadline which makes it all the more impressive.

For all the worry about “Pixar’s decline” and reliance on sequels, critics and fans should rest assured. Finding Dory may not be as seamless as its predecessor, but its story is still meaningful. Art continues to challenge, technology continues to inspire.

Finding Dory should assuage worry in the same way Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 did. But the Cars sequels and Toy Story 4 represent too big of a worry. Apparently, Pixar isn’t allowed any missteps. We’ve already seen this with Brave, Monsters University, and more recently, The Good Dinosaur. Those are films that I love dearly. While Finding Dory should remind everyone that Pixar is still in robust shape, creating a sequel that retains the emotional power of its predecessor, that still isn’t enough for most.

But why is Finding Dory so significant, even if it is a dreaded sequel? For starters, it’s only the third Pixar film to feature a female protagonist. A supporting female character with a murky background became much more substantial. Dory was hilarious and heartbreaking in the first film. She still is, but now she’s achieved closure. Her story was given so much love and attention that the sequel, in retrospect, is all the more necessary. And sequels are rarely ever necessary according to the general public.

Then of course, is what her short term memory loss represents. It’s not merely there for laughs.

“I was using her disability to represent everybody. It works for anybody, because nobody is perfect. Everybody has a flaw that they maybe mislabel as such.”

-Andrew Stanton

Her disability doesn’t hinder her from being kind, generous, and friendly. It doesn’t hinder her from demonstrating empathy or discovering other forms of strength. And probably less important, or maybe even more so, is that Marlin and Nemo, along with new friends Hank, Destiny, and Bailey, do not pity Dory. They recognize all the wonderful things she is capable of, not despite her disability, but precisely because of it. They see her, first and foremost, as a friend they love and care about. She recognizes the same and encourages them despite their own limitations. This is a sequel where the characters either overcome their disabilities or still thrive even if they aren’t cured of them. That kind of message is vital for all ages, but especially for the youngest who do make up a large portion of Pixar’s audience.

tumblr_mjzmteGdWm1s714eko1_500When Stanton first revealed how Dory’s disability would be treated (in this excellent interview with Collider), I was reminded of “Toy Story of TERROR!” That short film, like Finding Dory, made a vivacious supporting female character the lead. Jessie’s role in Toy Story 2 functions the same way as Dory’s in Finding Nemo. She adds more emotional weight. In “TERROR!”, Jessie overcomes her claustrophobia in order to save the day. Many fans even praised the sensitive way her panic attacks and anxiety were depicted.

“Jessie never gives up, Jessie finds a way.”

Compare that to Dory’s unflagging optimism in Finding Nemo, along with her insistence that there’s always another way in the sequel. These are two female characters who confront or embrace their weaknesses and disabilities. They refuse to give up even when they’ve seemingly exhausted all their options.

Jessie and Dory assist the male hero but they are well rounded supporting characters in their own right. Jessie was introduced in a sequel while Dory was re-introduced in one of her own. Holly Shiftwell in Cars 2 was Mater’s romantic interest, but she was also a highly skilled secret agent. Whether The Incredibles 2 features any prominent new female characters remains to be seen. Could Helen and/or Violet be protagonists this time around? They’re still compelling even as secondary characters. Cruz Ramirez in Cars 3 is a crucial character, but she’s supporting Lightning McQueen. No doubt she’ll be fun to watch and we should hope for a positive, non stereotypical representation of her Hispanic background.

tumblr_mzxuikdFDd1s5wuldo1_500Now onto Toy Story 4. Woody will be reunited with Bo Peep in a love story. Bo Peep is really the only female character in a Pixar film who is merely peripheral. She had less screentime in Toy Story 2 because, as a porcelain lamp, it wasn’t logical that she’d be able to travel with the other toys around the tri-county area. Her absence in the third film was also a logical choice for the story. It was meant to show that losing friends is inevitable, but also made sense because Molly wouldn’t have assigned Bo Peep any sentimental value and held onto her like Andy did with his toys.

Bo Peep isn’t a dynamic character, but that’s not an issue. She may be on the sidelines, but so are Slinky, Rex, Hamm, and Mr. Potato Head. They’re all colorful, interesting characters, but the motivations and character arcs are reserved for Woody and Buzz.

We don’t know what to expect from Toy Story 4 just yet, but given Pixar’s track record, I think it’s safe to assume that Bo Peep will be an even stronger character in this upcoming installment.

For those who scoff at sequels and Pixar’s recent proliferation of them, their future does appear bleak. It’s much easier to look at Cars 2, Monsters University, Cars 3, and Toy Story 4 as proof positive of Pixar’s decline than to look past those films and remain eager about what else is yet to come. What’s ironic is that no one harbors this kind of pessimism for The Incredibles 2. Doesn’t that film have just as much potential as the others to be unspectacular? The general consensus of course is that The Incredibles 2 is the only sequel capable of being good. But Finding Dory and the Toy Story sequels have proven that to be untrue. Even if Cars 2Monsters University, and The Good Dinosaur are regarded as weak efforts, that still doesn’t mean that Pixar’s creative quality has declined.

I prefer to take an optimistic view of Pixar’s sequels because of the roles Pixar heroines, old and new, get to play. Despite popular beliefs to the contrary, I know there are more original films in the works. Coco is just the only one that’s been announced.

Good stories exist in Pixar’s original films and their sequels. Personally, I have yet to watch a bad Pixar film. Others don’t agree and that’s fine too. I’m not worried about Pixar making a bad film, because as I’ve seen, they’re still making good ones.

Pessimism is tempting, but as Dory says, there’s always another way.

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Cars 3: introducing Cruz Ramirez.

Bryan Fee, Cars 3, Concept Art

Posted by Simoa • May 30, 2016

New artwork and synopsis have been revealed for Cars 3, courtesy of USA Today. The third installment in the series will return to its roots, with director Bryan Fee calling it a “love letter to racing and the American way. We’re inspired by the Americana you see traveling through the South where every small town has a dirt track.”

In Cars 3, Lightning McQueen is no longer the sleek machine he once was. His new trainer is Cruz Ramirez, a yellow racing car who helps him train for the Daytona 500. Owen Wilson will be reprising his role as Lightning, but no one has yet been confirmed for Cruz Ramirez. Cruz is a Hispanic female racing car. No doubt her character will be very interesting to watch and will be another addition to Pixar’s ever growing heroines.

Cars 3 will be racing into theaters on June 16th, 2017.

In the meantime, check out the breathtaking concept art below.

Noah Klocek

Noah Klocek

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Cars 3 director announced

Brad Bird, Cars 3, Dan Scanlon, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Simoa • February 22, 2016

Pixar has recently announced the directors of two upcoming films with very little fanfare. Tucked in away on a list of Pixarians Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 7.19.48 PMto follow on twitter (what, you weren’t following them already?), the directors of both Cars 3 and The Incredibles 2 were revealed.

We previously wrote about the sequel to everyone’s favorite superhero family in November, but we didn’t know for sure if Brad Bird, who is writing the script, would also return to the director’s chair. As it turns out, he is! This makes the second film all the more exciting.

Dan Scanlon, director of Monsters University, will be helming Cars 3. Scanlon, as evidenced by his twitter, has always brought a unique humor to his projects, and we’re definitely eager to see this next installment in the Cars franchise in his hands.

We also have to wonder if Scanlon’s involvement will bolster Cars 3’s standing with fans. The announcement drew tepid responses at best and flat out negative ones at worst. It’s rather interesting that directors for these films have been confirmed when the reaction to both has been so overwhelmingly different.

But as always, we here at Upcoming Pixar are excited to see what’s next and to support all our favorite Pixarians!

UPDATE: apparently, Oh My Disney was mistaken about Dan Scanlon. He will not be directing Cars 3, but he is working on another original project. Still plenty to be excited about!

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The Incredibles 2: An Update On Your Favorite Superhero Family

Brad Bird, Cars 3, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • September 14, 2015

the_incredibles_movie-wallpaperGood news for all The Incredibles fans! Director Brad Bird has been out and about at the Toronto International Film Festival promoting the release of The Iron Giant: Signature Edition. In the midst of all the interviews, Bird dished some sought after information about the superhero sequel to Matt Goldberg from Collider.

Although there isn’t a set release date yet, Bird has been hard at work on the screenplay and collaborating closely with a small team who worked with him on the first installment. According to Bird:

“I have the story arc. I’m probably three-quarters through the script, first pass through the script, but we’re already boarding parts of it. I’ve got a lot of people that worked on the first one working on it, so we’re all having a good time with it.”

Bird also went on to mention that The Incredibles 2 was moved ahead of Cars 3, due to how fast things were coming together with the screenplay and the overall storyboard process. As of yet, Cars 3 also has no set release date.

“In terms of the release date, we were originally—Incredibles was supposed to happen after Cars, and our wheels just happened to click a little earlier so they moved us up. Release dates are a little fluid when you’re making films so far in advance. Some films are tougher to come together and tough nuts to crack, and other ones comes together a little more quickly, and so I’m just going to work as fast as I can work well with a relatively small team because I like small teams better until you’ve got everything firmly figured out.”

Despite how well pre-production is going, Bird is still encountering problems with how to approach the sequel, tackle the family relationships that worked so well with the first film, and cover the increasing popularity of superhero franchises in a new light.

“But what’s changed is there were only two other superhero franchises at the time Incredibles came out. One of them was X-Men and the other was Spider-Man, and now there are 400 billion of them and there’s a new superhero movie every two weeks. What you don’t want to do is trot over the same turf in the same way everyone else is. So we’re trying to keep it focused in the area that our film was, which was a little bit more about characters and relationships and stuff like that, and see where that takes us. But we’re having a good time.”

It’s definitely refreshing to discover that Bird is taking the latest superhero craze into account and how he plans to revolutionize the storytelling techniques with The Incredibles 2, as he did with the first film back in 2004. We only look forward to seeing what Brad Bird and team have in store for the Parr family whenever the film is closer to being released.

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Disney Announces ‘Incredibles’ and ‘Cars’ Sequels

Bob Iger, Brad Bird, Cars, Cars 3, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Brkyo614 • March 18, 2014

At this morning’s annual Disney shareholders’ call, CEO Bob Iger dropped not one, but two Pixar-related bombshells: a sequel to The Incredibles and a third Cars movie are both in development at the studio.

Not much is known about either of the untitled sequels, but Stitch Kingdom reports that Incredibles director Brad Bird is actively involved in that follow-up. I’m sure fans will be thrilled about at least one of these announcements.

With these reveals, Pixar’s announced lineup consists of the following:

Inside Out – June 19, 2015
The Good Dinosaur – November 25, 2015
Finding Dory – June 17, 2016
Untitled Pixar film about Dia de los MuertrosTBA
The Incredibles sequelTBA
Cars sequelTBA

The studio has releases lined up for June 16, 2017, November 22, 2017, and June 15, 2018.

Check back soon for more…

Is Pixar piling on too many sequels, or are you looking forward to these films?

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